Odessa is located in Ector County, approximately midway between Ft. worth and El Paso, covering an area of 35.04 square miles. This area is called the Permian Basin . The Permian Basin is approximately 250 mile wide and 300 miles long. The basin was formed during the Permian Period, the final portion of the Paleozoic Era approximately 280 million years ago. A shallow sea, known as the Permian Sea, which was densely populated with life, once covered the Permian Basin. As the ocean dried up, the decaying plants and animals eventually helped form the gigantic pools of oil and gas that are still being taken from the basin. Three of the state’s major land resources meet here- the High Plains, Trans Pecos and Edward’s Plateau.
Located in a region where the Comanche Indians once roamed, Odessa ’s history as a settlement can be traced to the 1881 extension of the Texas and Pacific Railway across the south plains and the need to provide water for the steam engines. The availability of cheap land encouraged settlers to the area from 1879 to 1885. The first ranchers arrived in 1885, but it was the railroad that made Odessa vital to the cattle industry. By the mid 1890’s Odessa was an established cattle shipping center.
When oil was discovered in 1926, the destiny of the community took a different course. This discovery brought people of varied interests and occupations to the area, and the local economy began to change from a ranching base into an industrial one.
Today, Odessa is alive and thriving, although oil and gas still remain our largest industry the city has begun to diversify. Odessa is quickly being recognized as a major health industry hub with three hospitals, a cancer center and several medical specialists in the area.